INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a good time to be Buddy Kofoid.
The 19-year-old native of Penngrove, Calif., is in the midst of, perhaps, the best start to a season he’s ever had in his racing career.
Kofoid has won three of the four outdoor midget races run so far this season — capturing the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series season opener in Florida in February and sweeping last weekend’s pair of POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League events at Monarch Motor Speedway in Texas.
The only race he didn’t win was the second half of USAC’s opening weekend at Bubba Raceway Park and he finished third in that 30-lap contest.
As of March 24, Kofoid leads the standings in both USAC and POWRi, a rare moment in national midget racing to see one driver atop both tours’ championship hunts.
While Kofoid plans to remain with USAC and pursue the series title, he couldn’t help but smile when asked his feelings about being the top dog on two different sides of the midget racing spectrum early on in the year.
“It’s cool to look at and appreciate,” Kofoid told Sprint Car & Midget this week, amid a break in late model testing on the West Coast. “We know it probably won’t stay that way, but I at least like it for right now.”
In addition to his early outdoor success this year, Kofoid made the Saturday A-Main during January’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals for the second consecutive year. He also won a pair of winged sprint car races in Arizona during the Wild Wing Shootout, against veterans including Tony Stewart and Dominic Scelzi.
Kofoid said those performances laid the groundwork for the success that has followed in USAC and POWRi competition.
“It’s just been a really consistent start to the year for us so far,” tipped Kofoid. “I do feel like this is one of the best starts to a year I’ve ever had in racing, with the two sprint car wins and then three midget wins already in a field that really does have a lot of parity. When you add to that we had as good of a preliminary as we did at the Chili Bowl, even though Saturday didn’t end well, we were still real fast there and I felt like made a statement that we belonged toward the front. It has just been really good all the way around.
“Jarrett (Martin, crew chief) is one of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with and he goes the extra mile to help me get what I need out of the race car. That makes a difference,” Kofoid added. “Things have just gone our way so far and I kind of feel like this is my year, at least it started that way for me.”
Kofoid and Martin have worked together since Kofoid began his full-time tenure with KKM in 2020. The pairing has produced 13 victories during that span, including nine POWRi wins and four USAC triumphs.
“He and I just get along really well,” said Kofoid of Martin. “I think him being young and determined, just like I am, works because we want the same things [in racing] so we expect the same things. Him being 24 and me now 19, we communicate well and things are really easy. It’s pretty cool and a lot of fun.
“Things are clicking between us and really, if you kind of watch us closely, we don’t talk a ton at the race track,” Kofoid tipped. “We will for a few minutes when I get out of the car, but then he does his thing and I’m doing my thing and it’s pretty quiet. We’ve found a rhythm that I think works and it shows.”
In addition to his exploits on dirt, Kofoid is testing the waters on pavement.
He’s tested recently with Travis Sharpe and the Racing Dynamiks late model team at South Sound Speedway in Washington, with his competitive debut coming next weekend at the three-eighths-mile paved oval thanks to a brief break in his busy midget calendar.
“It’s been fun to start learning that world,” Kofoid said of late model racing. “It’s definitely different than anything I’ve ever done but I think we’ve clicked together well during testing and I like where we’re headed.
“It’s definitely the next step,” he added, referencing a potential climb up the motorsports ladder.
While the building blocks are being laid for Kofoid’s future, he still has his focus on the present as well, and the task ahead of winning a series title with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports this year.
“There’s nothing more, I want than a USAC championship,” said Kofoid. “That’s all working according to plan so far, but there’s a long way to go. We’ve been off to a good start, but there’s more to winning a title than just getting out of the gate quick and we know that.
“We need to perform when it counts and we hope to do just that.”